ERG SES D 07, Pecha Kucha Session
Pecha Kucha Session
The way we see ourselves is of central importance in our lives: it influences our interpretation of past experiences, our perception and behaviour in the present as well as imaginations for our future (Ryan & Irie, 2014). Thus, it comes as no surprise that theories concerned with the self have received an increasing amount of attention in linguistic research. For instance, numerous researchers have investigated the intersection between language and identity construction, some using the concept of positioning (Bucholtz & Hall, 2005; Davies & Harré, 1990; Lucius-Hoene & Deppermann, 2004; Spitzmüller, Flubacher, & Bendl, 2017). Research on language learning in turn has examined the role of identity in the language learning process (Kramsch, 2009; Norton Peirce, 1995) or has focused on the pedagogical implications of language learner self-concepts (Mercer, 2011b) or of possible selves as motivating forces (Dörnyei, 2009). While the latter approaches mostly concentrate on a single language, multilingualism research has increasingly criticised fractional views of multilingualism and has advocated more holistic perspectives (Aronin & Hufeisen, 2009; Busch, 2017). Especially relevant in this context are the two concepts of the linguistic repertoire and of the lived experience of language respectively, which form a theoretical framework for the investigation of bodily and emotional experience of language from the perspective of the speaker (Busch, 2012, 2015, 2017). A linguistic repertoire designates the whole of the linguistic resources a speaker disposes of, and can be conceived of as “a hypothetical structure, which evolves by experiencing language in interaction on a cognitive and on an emotional level and is inscribed into corporal memory” (Busch, 2012:521), The concept of lived experience of language, on the other hand, is concerned with individuals’ perception, experiences and emotions regarding their language practices (Busch, 2010b:80). Despite these theoretical advancements, a detailed study on self-perception with regard to language has not yet been conducted. However, linguistic self-perception seems to be especially relevant for language education, and both research and practice may benefit greatly from insights on this aspect of linguistic experience.
The present Ph.D. project thus aims to elucidate how students of lower and upper secondary schools (age 12-15) in South Tyrol perceive and experience their linguistic repertoires. In order to achieve this aim, the following questions will be addressed:
- Which linguistic resources do the participating students perceive as constitutive of their linguistic repertoires?
- How do they position themselves in relation to these repertoires?
- Which emotional experiences are tied to their perception of their linguistic repertoires?
- Which frames of reference influence their perception of their linguistic repertoires?
This Ph.D. project will be framed by the larger research project RepertoirePluS investigating South Tyrolean students’ linguistic repertoires (Abel, Engel, Platzgummer, & Zanasi, 2016). The participants of this project attend lower and upper secondary schools around the region and are between 12 and 15 years old. Within this project, 240 students completed a semi-structured questionnaire about their language biographies and their use of their linguistic repertoires. This data will serve as a basis for selecting 20-30 of the participating students for an interview study for the present doctoral project. In line with common procedures in qualitative interview research, participants will be selected so as to achieve a maximally diverse sample (King & Horrocks, 2010). The province of South Tyrol in itself is already characterised by considerable linguistic diversity, including not only the three official languages German, Italian, Ladin and their varieties but also a number of other languages (Engel & Hoffmann, 2016). Consequently, the linguistic repertoires of the participants of the study are expected to provide for rich data on the research questions mentioned above. The interview will begin with the creation of a language portrait (Busch, 2011; Krumm & Jenkins, 2001), which is an activity the students will already be familiar with as it was one of the components of the data collection for RepertoirePluS. The language portrait consists in a body-shaped silhouette into which students colour in the languages, varieties and codes that play a role in their lives. This multi-modal method has proven especially useful for investigations into the linguistic repertoire, since it enables participants to represent the latter in a holistic manner. Other than most verbal representations, these pictures are not structured by a sequential order, thus rendering relationships between the different linguistic resources visible and allowing ambiguities to be present (Busch, 2017). The selected participants will thus create a second language portrait in the interview setting and will be asked to interpret their portrait in a narrative manner (Busch, 2017). Subsequently, they will be presented with their respective language portrait created for the larger portrait. Students may then reiterate changes they have perceived in their linguistic repertoires, thus rendering the dynamic nature of their linguistic repertoires visible. The analysis of the narrative interviews will follow Lucius-Hoene and Deppermann’s (2004) methodology for the reconstruction of narrative identity, which will then be related to the research questions outlined above.
Results of this study will shed light on the linguistic self-perception of students in the multilingual context of South Tyrol. An analysis of the language portraits and the ensuing narratives will allow for insights on the linguistic resources that play a role in the participating students’ lives, on the students’ narrative positionings towards these linguistic resources, as well as on the bodily and emotional aspects of their experience of language. In a long-term perspective, these results may inform language teaching and learning, as well as the language use in education as a whole.
Abel, A., Engel, D., Platzgummer, V., & Zanasi, L. (2016). Plurilinguale Sprachenrepertoires Südtiroler Schülerinnen und ihre Erhebung, Beschreibung und Nutzung in mehrsprachigen Lernszenarien. Retrieved January 19, 2018, from http://www.eurac.edu/de/research/projects/Pages/projectdetail4266.aspx Aronin, L., & Hufeisen, B. (2009). Crossing the Second Threshold. In L. Aronin & B. Hufeisen (Eds.), The Exploration of Multilingualism (pp. 155–160). Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Bucholtz, M., & Hall, K. (2005). Identity and interaction: a sociocultural linguistic approach. Discourse Studies, 7(4–5), 585–614. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00170-009-2228-z Busch, B. (2011). Biographisches Erzählen und Visualisieren in der sprachwissenschaftlichen Forschung. ÖdaF-Mitteilungen, 2. Busch, B. (2012). The Linguistic Repertoire Revisited. Applied Linguistics, 33(5), 503–523. Busch, B. (2015). Zwischen Fremd- und Selbstwahrnehmung: Zum Konzept des Spracherlebens. In A. Schnitzer & R. Mörgen (Eds.), Mehrsprachigkeit und (Un)gesagtes: Sprache als soziale Praxis im Kontext von Heterogenität, Differenz und Ungleichheit (pp. 49–66). Weinheim; Basel: Beltz Juventa. Busch, B. (2017). Mehrsprachigkeit (2nd ed.). Wien: Facultas. Davies, B., & Harré, R. (1990). Positioning: The Discursive Production of Selves. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 20(1), 43–63. Dörnyei, Z. (2009). The L2 Motivational Self System. In Z. Dörnyei & E. Ushioda (Eds.), Motivation, language identity and the L2 self (pp. 9–42). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Engel, D., & Hoffmann, M. (2016). Zum Umgang mit Sprachenvielfalt an Südtiroler Schulen - Das Südtiroler Kooperationsprojekt “Sprachenvielfalt macht Schule” stellt sich vor. In H. Drumbl, G. de Carvalho, & J. Klinner (Eds.), IDT 2013: Sprachenpolitik und Sprachenvielfalt (pp. 7–20). Bozen: bu,press. King, N., & Horrocks, C. (2010). Interviews in Qualitative Research. London: Sage Publications. Kramsch, C. (2009). The Multilingual Subject. Oxford: Oxford University Press. Krumm, H.-J., & Jenkins, E.-M. (2001). Kinder und ihre Sprachen - Lebendige Mehrsprachigkeit. Wien: Eviva. Lucius-Hoene, G., & Deppermann, A. (2004). Rekonstruktion narrativer Identität: ein Arbeitsbuch zur Analyse narrativer Interviews (2nd ed.). Wiesbaden: VS Verlag für Sozialwissenschaften. Mercer, S. (2011). Towards an Understanding of Language Learner Self-Concept. Dordrecht: Springer. Norton Peirce, B. (1995). Social Identity, Investment, and Language Learning. TESOL Quarterly, 29(1), 10–32. Ryan, S., & Irie, K. (2014). Imagined and possible selves: stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. In S. Mercer & M. Williams (Eds.), Multiple Perspectives on the Self in SLA (pp. 109–126). Bristol: Multilingual Matters. Spitzmüller, J., Flubacher, M.-C., & Bendl, C. (2017). Soziale Positionierung als Praxis und Praktik: Einführung in das Themenheft. Wiener Linguistische Gazette, 81, 1–18.
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